Stage 1 Public Engagement for the Pilot Study on Underground Space Development in Selected Strategic Urban Areas launched
The Study aims to identify the opportunities and challenges of underground space development in the four selected Strategic Urban Areas (SUAs), namely Tsim Sha Tsui West, Causeway Bay, Happy Valley, and Admiralty/Wan Chai; to explore suitable underground space development proposals within the areas; and to formulate Underground Master Plans for wider districts to guide future underground space development.
The SUAs are densely developed core areas with heavy pedestrian and traffic flow leading to a congested environment. In addition, the scarce land resources have limited the scope for further development of the urban areas. The Study will explore creative and suitable spatial strategies with a view to utilising underground space to resolve district issues, improve the environment and enhance community development.
The Study initially proposes underground spaces that can create additional passageways to relieve the congested pedestrian and traffic situation above ground as well as provide all-weather and seamless pedestrian connections. Underground spaces can also be used to relocate existing undesirable above-ground facilities, thereby releasing valuable surface land for more beneficial and compatible uses, and offering good opportunities to create new space for uses beneficial to the community such as commercial, recreational, art and community facilities.
Kowloon Park, Victoria Park and Southorn Playground are the most prominent public open spaces in these districts. Located in focal points of these areas, there is potential to develop underground spaces beneath the parks. Additionally, considerations for underground space development including geotechnical, structural and infrastructural constraints, and interfaces with existing underground uses such as basements, fire safety, financial viability, land ownership, as well as the possible uses for the potential underground spaces, will be duly assessed under the Study. Furthermore, the Study will give due regard to existing dense vegetation, facilities and activities to avoid any impacts as appropriate.
The Stage 1 Public Engagement of the Study will seek public views on the opportunities and key considerations for underground space development, community needs, as well as suitability and possible uses of the potential underground space. The Stage 1 Public Engagement will last for three months. Key activities include roving exhibitions, focus group meetings and public planning workshops. Roving exhibitions, which run from today at Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, will feature a plastic brick model to showcase underground space development in an innovative manner and its integration with above-ground facilities.
Hong Kong underground development study starts